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Published: Thursday, 6/23/2011

Mandel rejects Dems' complaint


Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel -- a prospective Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate -- had a direct response Wednesday in Toledo to a federal elections complaint filed by the Ohio Democratic Party.

"It's baseless," he said before a fund-raiser on his behalf at the Toledo Club and declined to elaborate.

The Democratic Party in its complaint earlier this month to the Federal Elections Commission alleged that Mr. Mandel's Senate campaign committee took the Web site, email list, and other material from his 2010 state treasurer campaign without compensating the committee as required by the FEC. The party also alleged that he illegally transferred taxpayer-funded material produced for the state treasurer Web site to his Senate campaign site.

Just this week, the Democratic Party said Mr. Mandel missed a campaign finance disclosure filing deadline and a 30-day grace period. A spokesman for Mr. Mandel attributed the missed deadlines to delays in accumulating required information and said a report would be filed soon.

Mr. Mandel was elected Ohio treasurer in November and took office in January. By March, a group of conservative and Tea Party activists released a letter saying he might be their best hope to contest U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, the Democrat who in 2012 is up for re-election to a second six-year term.

In April, Mr. Mandel established a senatorial campaign committee with the FEC. Asked when he would make a formal announcement, Mr. Mandel said, "I think soon."

He said he did not know the amount of money raised from several fund-raisers for him around the state, but "I can tell you it's been very strong. It's gone very well."

He would speak only in broad terms about his prospective candidacy.

"The amount of jobs that have left Ohio under Sherrod Brown's watch are simply unacceptable, and that's why I believe we are receiving so much encouragement from a … Democrats, Republicans, and independents," he said.

Justin Barasky, Ohio Democratic Party spokesman, said that "no one fights harder for the working class of Ohio" than Senator Brown, who "championed investing in the auto industry."

Mr. Mandel, in contrast, has "refused to take positions on numerous pressing issues facing the state."

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.

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